(516) 972-1212

Juvenile Defense Attorney in Nassau County, NY

If your child has been accused of any type of criminal wrongdoing in Nassau County, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Stephanie Selloni. We are experienced in representing young people charged with a variety of crimes.

The probation department and prosecutors in the case have tremendous discretion to determine the resolution of the case, including whether the child will ever see the judge or be asked to enter a plea. By having a criminal defense attorney involved as early in the process as possible, we can fight for the best result. Without a proper defense, an overzealous prosecution can often lead to an unjust result with consequences that can last a lifetime.

Never let your child talk to any police officer after an allegation is made. Explain to your child how to invoke his right to remain silent and have an attorney present for any questioning. Contact a criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Stephanie Selloni at (516) 972-1212 to discuss your child’s case in Garden City, Glen Cove, Long Beach, Floral Park, Westbury, and the surrounding areas in Long Island.

Information on Juvenile Charges in New York

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Types of Juvenile Charges

Some of the most common types of juvenile charges prosecuted in Nassau County, Long Island, New York, can include: 

  • Juvenile Drug Charges
  • Juvenile Marijuana Cases
  • Juvenile Sex Offenses
  • Juvenile Alcohol Charges
  • Assault (Fighting)
  • Trespass
  • Juvenile DWI / Zero Tolerance

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Juvenile Court Procedures

A “juvenile delinquent” is a child convicted of an act that would be a crime if committed by an adult and is found to be in need of “supervision, treatment or confinement.” Typically, children who are ten or younger are not charged in the juvenile justice system. Most of the cases in juvenile court involve children who are 13, 14, or 15. It is possible for a child as young as 11 or 12 years old to be brought into the system. A young person who is 16, 17 or 18 years old will have his or her case resolved in adult court.

Out of all 50 states, only New York and North Carolina set the age of adult criminal responsibility at 16. Most states set the age at 18. Only 11 states set the age at 17. Each year in the State of New York, nearly 50,000 young people who are 16 or 17 years old end up facing criminal charges.

Under the Nassau County Adolescent Diversion Program, teenagers who are 16 and 17 years old are sent to special courts with judges trained in dealing with the specific issues these adolescents face.

The Nassau County Family Court

Juvenile delinquency cases are heard in Family Court. In Nassau County, these cases are heard at the Nassau County Family Court located at:

Nassau County Family Court
1200 Old Country Road
Westbury, New York 11590

In some very serious cases, a child who is 13, 14 or 15 years old will be treated as an adult and have his or her case heard in Supreme Court. It is possible for the case to ultimately be transferred by to Family Court. If the child is convicted of a crime in Superior Court then he or she is called a “juvenile offender” instead of a “juvenile delinquent.”

What happens after the child is arrested?

After the child is arrested in Nassau County, the arresting officer may release the child to the parent after issuing a “desk appearance ticket” which gives the child notice that he or she must appear in a certain court at a certain date for arraignment. If the child is not immediately released, then he or she will be brought to a juvenile detention center until court is held the next morning.

Nassau County Probation Intake in Juvenile Cases

After the arrest the child will go through the probation office’s intake procedures. An intake officer from the Nassau County Probation Department will talk with the child, the parents, look at the charges and circumstances of the allegations, and make a recommendation. The intake officer can either hold the case in probation for adjustment services or send the case to court. 

When the probation department adjusts the case during the probation intake process, it reduces the number of secure and non-secure detention care days and provides alternatives to residential placement. How many juveniles are arrested each year in Nassau County for juvenile delinquency?

  • 750 in 2010
  • 641 in 2011
  • 630 in 2012

Once at the Juvenile Detention Center, the JDC intake staff use an Intake Assessment Worksheet (IAW) and the YASI Detention Screen to make a risk assessment. The most common reason for continued detention is a violation of probation allegation or a new arrest while additional charges are already pending. 

Nassau County Secure Juvenile Detention Center
61 Carman Ave.
Westbury, NY 11590
MERCYFIRST – Nassau County Non-Secure Detention Center
Group Care Facility
87 Shell Street
East Massapequa, NY 11758

Juvenile Adjustment Services by the Nassau County Probation Department

The probation officer’s adjustment services can include a requirement that the child pay restitution, perform community service, attend counseling / treatment, or go to mediation. The department of probation can then supervise the child for up to four months.

If the case is referred to court, then the prosecutor with the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office reviews the case to file a petition which formally charges the child. It is important to have a criminal defense attorney involved as early in the process as possible. The child’s attorney can often present favorable information to the intake officer and prosecutor early in the case before any decisions are made.

What Happens at Juvenile Arraignments?

If any charges are formally filed in the petition, then the first court date is called the arraignment or the “initial appearance.” At the initial appearance, the child comes to court with his or her attorney (either a privately retained criminal defense attorney or an attorney appointed by the court).

Although it is possible that the child could enter a plea at the initial appearance, in most cases, a second court date is set so that discovery can be exchanged and the attorney can explore defenses and a potential resolution of the case short of a hearing.

The judge determines whether the child will be held or released to the parents pending the resolution of the case. In the more serious cases the child can be remanded to secure or non-secure detention. In most cases, the child is paroled (or sent home with his or her parents) until the case is resolved. 

Juvenile Court Hearings

In juvenile delinquency court, the case can be set for a “fact-finding hearing” which is similar to a bench trial in adult court. In those cases, the judge will listen to all of the evidence and witnesses and render a verdict to determine if the child committed the delinquent acts alleged in the petition.

The child’s juvenile defense attorney can also present a defense by cross-examining the prosecutor’s witnesses or presenting evidence or testimony from defense witnesses. The child has the absolute right to take the stand and testify. Alternatively, the child has the absolute right to remain silent during the fact-finding hearing.

Disposition Hearing

If the court finds that the child committed the act alleged in the petition or if the child admits to the allegations through a negotiated or open plea, then the dispositional hearing is set so the court can consider the sentence to be imposed.

The Nassau County Probation Department will prepare a report and evaluate the child. Those findings are given to the judge. The Court can either adjudicate the child as a “juvenile delinquent” or withhold that finding. 

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Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD or ACOD)

Especially in less serious cases, the court may find the child responsible for committing the acts alleged, but nevertheless find the child does not need further supervision or detention. The court can also enter an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal (often called the ACD or ACOD). If the court orders ACOD then the judge may set conditions to be completed before the petition is automatically dismissed after 6 months. The case is then automatically sealed.

The relevant statute, Family Court Act § 315.3(1), reads as follows:
Except where the petition alleges that the respondent has committed a designated felony act, the court may at any time prior to the entering of a finding under section 352.1 and with the consent of the respondent order that the proceeding be “adjourned in contemplation of dismissal”. An adjournment in contemplation of dismissal is an adjournment of the proceeding for a period not to exceed six months, with a view to ultimate dismissal of the petition in furtherance of justice. Upon issuing such an order, providing such terms and conditions as the court deems appropriate, the court must release the respondent.

Upon ex parte motion by the presentment agency, or upon the court’s own motion, made at the time the order is issued or at any time during its duration, the court may restore the matter to the calendar. If the proceeding is not restored, the petition is, at the expiration of the order, deemed to have been dismissed in furtherance of justice.

The courts have noted that “[a]lthough an ACD resembles the dispositions of conditional discharge and probation, because a juvenile’s continued freedom is contingent on the satisfaction of certain conditions, an ACD is not a disposition of a juvenile delinquency proceeding.

Unlike dispositional orders, which may only be issued after the conclusion of dispositional hearing … an ACD may only be granted to a person who has not been adjudicated a juvenile delinquent.” Matter of Edwin L., 88 N.Y.2d 593, 601, 648 N.Y.S.2d 850, 671 N.E.2d 1247.

On the other hand, the Criminal Procedure Law § 170.55(1), provides that a local criminal court may grant an ACOD prior to the entry of a plea or a verdict, in a juvenile delinquency proceeding an ACD may be granted at any time, including at the conclusion of a dispositional hearing, so long as the Court has not adjudicated the respondent to be a juvenile delinquent pursuant to Family Court Act § 352.1(1).

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Probation and the Violation of Probation Petition 

If the court places the child on probation, then the special conditions are listed in the disposition (“dispositional order”). If the child violates any of the terms of the probation then he can be brought back to court for a violation of probation hearing. At the hearing, the child can face more sanctions if the court finds that the violations are willful and substantial.

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Designated Felony Act as Applied to Juveniles

Designated felony acts are the most serious and typically violent acts upon which a juvenile delinquency petition may be based.

In New York, when the charges brought against a juvenile are included in the designated felony act, then if the proceeding is commenced in a court of criminal jurisdiction and then transferred to the Family Court, the transfer order, pleadings, and other documents may be collectively deemed to constitute the Family Court petition, regardless of their form, but that “the clerk shall annex to the order a sufficient statement and marking to make it a designated felony act petition.” See Family Court Act § 311.1[7].

The “designated felony act” contains a list of these offenses, which if committed by an adult, would be a crime: 

(i) defined in:

  • sections 125.27 (murder in the first degree);6
  • 125.25 (murder in the second degree);
  • 135.25 (kidnapping in the first degree); or
  • 150.20 (arson in the first degree) of the penal law committed by a person thirteen, fourteen or fifteen years of age; or
  • such conduct committed as a sexually motivated felony, where authorized pursuant to section 130.91 of the penal law;

(ii) defined in:

  • sections 120.10 (assault in the first degree); 
  • 125.20 (manslaughter in the first degree);
  • 130.35 (rape in the first degree);
  • 130.50 (criminal sexual act in the first degree);
  • 130.70 (aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree);
  • 135.20 (kidnapping in the second degree) but only where the abduction involved the use or threat of use of deadly physical force;
  • 150.15 (arson in the second degree) or
  • 160.15 (robbery in the first degree) of the penal law committed by a person thirteen, fourteen or fifteen years of age; or such conduct committed as a sexually motivated felony, where authorized pursuant to section 130.91 of the penal law;

(iii) defined in the penal law as an attempt to commit murder in the first or second degree or kidnapping in the first degree committed by a person thirteen, fourteen or fifteen years of age; or such conduct committed as a sexually motivated felony, where authorized pursuant to section 130.91 of the penal law; 
(iv) defined in:

  • section 140.30 (burglary in the first degree); 
  • subdivision one of section 140.25 (burglary in the second degree); 
  • subdivision two of section 160.10 (robbery in the second degree) of the penal law; or 
  • section 265.03 of the penal law, where such machine gun or such firearm is possessed on school grounds, as that phrase is defined in subdivision fourteen of section 220.00 of the penal law committed by a person fourteen or fifteen years of age; or 
  • such conduct committed as a sexually motivated felony, where authorized pursuant to section 130.91 of the penal law; 

(v) defined in:

  • section 120.05 (assault in the second degree) or 
  • 160.10 (robbery in the second degree) of the penal law committed by a person fourteen or fifteen years of age but only where there has been a prior finding by a court that such person has previously committed an act which, if committed by an adult, would be the crime of assault in the second degree, robbery in the second degree or any designated felony act specified in paragraph (i), (ii), or (iii) of this subdivision regardless of the age of such person at the time of the commission of the prior act; or 

(vi) other than a misdemeanor committed by a person at least seven but less than sixteen years of age, but only where there has been two prior findings by the court that such person has committed a prior felony.

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Juvenile Justice Resources

Juvenile Detention Center in Nassau County – The Juvenile Detention Center in Nassau County is a secure facility designed to house up to 32 juvenile offenders who have criminal cases pending in District Court, County Court or Family Court. Family, County or District Courts. The detention center is certified by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services and supervised by the Department of Social Services for Nassau County.

Juvenile Probation Department – In juvenile delinquency cases in Nassau County, the probation department has the power and authority to adjust cases without the necessity of appearing before a judge.

Nassau County’s Supervision and Treatment Services For Juveniles Program
Nassau County Probation
400 County Seat Drive
Mineola, NY 11501 

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Finding a Juvenile Defense Attorney for Nassau County

If your child was arrested for a criminal offense in Long Island, contact Law Office of Stephanie Selloni to discuss the case. Stephanie Selloni is experienced representing juveniles in Family Court for Nassau County, Suffolk County, Garden City, Floral Park, Hempstead, Mineola, and the surrounding areas.  Call us at (516) 972-1212 to discuss the case today.